Gargi Vijayaraghavan is a petite 22 year old girl and one would surely not believe on her being a snake rescuer, interfacing with the slithering variety on a daily basis. But Gargi has been a snake-lover since her childhood, probably highly influenced by her father who was an avid snake rescuer himself. Today, Gargi is an environmentalist and is in love with the animal world, especially snakes and the furry variety.
Gargi grew up in BARC Colony (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre employees residential quarters) which is on the outskirts of the bustling city of Mumbai yet does not resemble it in any way as it has a thick tree cover. As a three year-old, Gargi remembers crying when a snake entered her room, a common phenomenon at the BARC colony, not because she was not able to play with it as her father took it away. When she was thirteen, she along with her father’s help, caught a non-venomous snake who had entered a local shop. During the school vacations that year, Gargi studied the entire snake variety and their species, to give her father the confidence and assurance about her dedication towards this task.
Gargi has been rescuing snakes from people’s homes for more than a decade now and get calls from places as far off as Kalyan (a far-flung Mumbai suburb). She has rescued about 2000 snakes along with her father, in this unique endeavour of hers. She has faced ridicule from the society for pursuing snake-rescuing as it is more of a man’s domain than that of a tiny and petite girl. The boys in her school often made fun of her and made hissing sound when she was around. But her single minded devotion towards the snake population and mother’s advice to look away, kept her on the path.
Gargi believes snakes understand your intention and one’s positive vibrations. She often makes conversation with them and believes them to be harmless, especially considering the fact that there are only four poisonous varieties of snakes in Mumbai and its surroundings. A Post-Graduate in Environmental science from The Mumbai University, Gargi works at the MyVets Charitable Foundation. She has been felicitated World Environment day by the Mayor of Mumbai in 2010 for her phenomenal work. She is currently tending to the 17 peafowls at Raj Bhavan, the Governor’s residence in Mumbai ensuring their well-being.
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